Case study: Vodafone customer engagement soars with RCS messaging campaigns

Quick stats
  • During the first campaign, 80% of customers read the message and 25% responded to the offer, in comparison, SMS and MMS saw a 1% response rate
  • Engagement rates of up to 26% across second and third campaigns

Mobile network operator Vodafone is the first in the UK to support RCS messaging across Android mobile devices.  And with the new rich format, the company saw a way to deliver experiences that were both familiar and innovative, ultimately helping to distinguish the brand’s customer communications.

Challenges

As enterprises aim to develop their own branded messaging apps to win the attention of the world’s 3.5 billion smartphone users, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd in a market that has become fragmented and complex. In light of this, conversational messaging has become an essential part of differentiating the customer experience that a brand delivers and Vodafone therefore faced a challenge to meet customer demand for two-way experiences.

Solution

Vodafone worked with cloud communications firm, IMImobile, across three major RCS campaigns:

Campaign 1 – Spring Bank Holiday

For the company’s first RCS campaign, Vodafone wanted to surprise and delight customers using the new channel. By timing the campaign around the bank holiday weekend, it meant that the message could provide a relevant and thoughtful interaction at a point when customers were more likely to check their phones.

As a trial campaign to 3,600 customers, the initial message asked whether they’d like ‘some treats’ for the bank holiday weekend. If the recipient responded ‘yes’ to the offer, they were presented with a three-card carousel containing seasonal offers from the network’s commercial partners. If the customer responded ‘no’, they received a link to personalised rewards. For either option, customers were offered the opportunity to opt-out of future messaging.

To monitor the campaign’s success – and to ensure those without RCS enabled devices still received the offers – Vodafone also ran the campaign across SMS and MMS channels. The results showed RCS held a clear advantage with 80% of customers reading the message, and 25% responding to the offer. By comparison, SMS and MMS scored a response rate of around 1%.

 Campaigns 2 & 3 – Father’s Day & ‘Are you 5G-ready?’

Encouraged by the strong engagement of the bank holiday campaign, Vodafone wanted to follow up with two more RCS campaigns to excite their customers. Both of the campaigns saw Vodafone take advantage of bold visual content and the use of interactive buttons to give users an easy way of responding to the different choices.

The second campaign once again took advantage of a seasonal event, Father’s Day. Users were sent a message asking if they still needed to sort out a Father’s Day gift and if so, directed the user to Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards program. From there, users could choose how they would describe the person they are looking to treat using four different buttons. From what they selected, a relevant offer would be presented back to them, for example, picking the ‘proper chocoholic’ option would enable the user to redeem a gift from Hotel Chocolat.

The third RCS campaign aimed to promote Vodafone’s new 5G-ready unlimited network plans. After responding ‘Tell me more’ to an initial message asking if they are ready for 5G, the user could select to upgrade to a 5G plan, which would direct them to the subsequent plan on a Vodafone page. To help celebrate the launch of the 5G plans, the user could also select to enter a VeryMe Rewards competition.

Results

RCS showed a clear advantage over SMS and MMS, consistently engaging the customer and inspiring action. This is just the start of Vodafone’s RCS journey to create richer interactions for their customers. The network is continuing to work with IMImobile and TMW on RCS to enhance the user experience across customer service, operations, marketing and other key business touchpoints.

  • During the first campaign 80% of customers read the message and 25% responded to the offer, in comparison SMS and MMS saw a 1% response rate
  • Engagement rates of up to 26% across the second and third campaigns

With richer media capabilities and an enablement of more conversational interactions, RCS is starting to become an important communication channel to consider for businesses looking to improve customer experience. With RCS adoption set to increase in 2020, we expect to see more deployments following in the successful footsteps of Vodafone.

Karl Shilbach, Account Manager at IMImobile